NFU responds to climate change report

Britain needs to plant more trees and eat less meat to help 'stop the planet overheating'

Carbon is stored in plants and in the soil, so the CCC recommends that farm subsidies should raise the proportion of United Kingdom land under forestry from 14% to 19%, and restore peat bogs.

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said: "The farming industry is on the forefront of climate change impacts; producing safe, traceable and affordable food is a daily challenge for United Kingdom farmers". Instead, it advocated a 20%-50% reduction in demand for red meat by 2050, suggesting chicken, pork, lab-grown meats and alternative plant-based proteins as replacements requiring less land. First, the committee recommends the United Kingdom build up its forest and land carbon stores while increasing the supply of sustainably harvested biomass from United Kingdom sources.

A further recommendation of the report is for the Government to implement legislation that promotes "radically different" uses of land, including the construction of semi-artificial wetlands, woodlands and peat bogs.

A second report from the committee said use of "biomass" or plant material could help cut emissions, as long as it is done sustainably, with tighter rules on sourcing plants for energy, substantial increases in using wood in buildings and developing technology to capture carbon from biomass power plants.

"Climate change is also explicitly among the "public goods" listed in our Agriculture Bill that we want to pay farmers for outside the European Union", added a Defra spokesman. We must also improve the resilience of the land to climate change.

The CCC estimates that if its recommendations on land use were to be implemented in full, the UK's annual carbon footprint would be up to 40MTCO2e lower by 2050 than it was in 2017.

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"If the supply of biomass is more strictly governed, its use can be sustainable and it can play an essential role in reducing emissions, locking away carbon in plants and soils".

The Government needs to prepare the countryside for climate change, according to a new report out today (15 November). It advises Government on emissions targets and reports to Parliament on progress made.

"We strongly support the CCC's findings, which show the important role of biomass in the UK's long-term energy system".

"A zero carbon city will have many benefits for our citizens, not least enhanced air quality, better public transport networks, lower energy bills and future job opportunities in the growing low-carbon energy sector".

Responding to the publication of the reports, Friends of the Earth campaigner, Guy Shrubsole said: 'This is a wake-up call for a complacent government that we must completely transform the way we use land, to avoid climate breakdown and make space for nature.

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